I am a big fan of the mangaka Tamura Yumi, who writes one of my favourite series called 7 Seeds. This review however is on her completed manga called Basara, which she wrote back in 1991, before I was even born. I highly recommend this manga to anyone who is interested in battles, drama and lots of character development.

Basara Manga art portrait

Basara is set in a post-apocalyptic Japan which is divided up by the Golden Emperor and and his sons. It can be considered a warring period, with the infamous Red King, one of the King’s sons, trying to climb up the power ladder. Our main character Sasara and her twin brother Tatara live in a small village which is burnt down by the Red King.

The reason for this is because her brother Tatara was prophesied to be the one that would unite Japan, and save everyone from being oppressed. When her brother, the boy of destiny is killed, Sasara decides to take his identity and fight in the name of freedom.

We then follow Sasara, now known as Tatara, as she goes out into the wide world on her own to tackle the Red King, and meets many people who want to help her, as well as many people who want to kill her. She also meets a monk who she falls in love with.

The manga is a great read for anyone who is into epic sagas. There is a lot of character development as we watch Sasara give up her own identity, love and feelings to become the hero everyone believes her to be. We see her grow up in a tough environment, and learn of the harsh world.

The characters that she meets along her journey all add something to the story, non of them are typical cliches, and Tamura Yumi has no fear of killing off your favourite supporting character either. The story for the Red King and the “bad guys” is also interesting, as they say there is always two sides to the same story, and you find yourself with some conflicting feelings.

In that same way, the story doesn’t go completely linear. Our main character Sasara has to make some tough decisions in her position as figure head Tatara that she might not make if she was allowed to simply be herself. It’s interesting to see the sacrifices she makes as a leader of the revolution, something which other stories of the same plot don’t always show. It makes her more human, and the cost of the revolution more heavy.

So you should read the manga Basara by Tamura Yumi because it’s truly a great, dramatic, emotional, thought-provoking piece of work that gets the reader completely immersed. It’s also completely finished unlike some of her other words which I’m reading, so you won’t have to be on the edge of your seat waiting for each chapter update!